State investigators met Thursday with the former USC Student Health Center gynecologist now at the center of growing controversy over decades of alleged misconduct.
Disgraced doctor George Tyndall was seen admitting investigators with California's Department of Consumer Affairs, Medical Board into the condominium building where he lives west of Downtown Los Angeles. The investigators stayed two hours, leaving without comment. Board staff have previously confirmed an investigation is underway.
Tyndall, 71, told a newsman at the lobby door that he is not speaking with reporters. In an earlier comment to the Los Angeles Times, he denied wrongdoing.
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"There were lots of things he did that I felt were improper," said Lucy Chi, one of at least half a dozen current and former USC students who have filed lawsuits against Tyndall and the University. Chi said she felt "violated" during a 2012 examination when she was a graduate student.
Tyndall practiced at the campus health center for nearly three decades, but agreed to leave last summer under the terms of a settlement, reached after an internal investigation questioned his examination methodolgy, the University has said.
At the time, the University did not make its concerns public, and did not share its concerns with the Medical Board until March. A report last week in the Times brought forth accusers such as Chi, who said, as individuals, they previously did not think they could challenge a veteran doctor at a prestigious university.
"Defendant USC actively and deliberately concealed Tyndall's sexually abuse for years, continued to grant Tyndall unfettered access to the young female USC students in his care, all to protect Defendant USC's reputation and financial coffers," reads in part the suit filed on behalf of Chi and three other accusers by a team of attorneys led by John Manly and Ronald Labriola.
USC should have contacted law enforcement about Tyndall years ago, Labriola said.
"They paid him to leave," said Manly. "Who does that with this kind of conduct?"
Additional accusers will join the suit next week, the attorneys said.
This week, faculty members presented University administration with a petition calling for University President C.L. Max Nikias to step down, and Wednesday the Academic Senate approved a motion urging his resignation.
Nikias issued an action plan, including creation of a "President's Campus Culture Commission."
The chairman of USC's Board of Trustees, John Mork, Tuesday issued a statement expressing "full confidence in President Nikias' leadership, ethics and values." A day later, the Board's Executive Committee announced a committee will be formed, and outside legal counsel hired, "to conduct an independent investigation into the misconduct and reporting failures that occurred at the USC student health center."
"I thnk that shows they have taken a step back," said law professor Ariela Gross, co-author of the faculty petition. "I hope they have heard our voices to do the right thing."
Chi said she found it odd that Tyndall conducted examinations in his office, and made comments with words such as "pretty" and "tight."
She said he discouraged her from having a chaperone in the room during the examination. Having studied a year of medical school, Chi said it was apparent to her that Tyndall's pelvice and breast examination method was "non-standard," and challenged him, but recalled he "insisted it was better for the exam."
What troubles her even more than her own experience, she said, is the thought of what happened to countless young undergraduate students, many undergoing their first gynecological exams without knowledge of what is proper and what goes beyond.
"I think about those young girls," Chi said. "I want to be a voice for them."